Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has risked a war of words with FA Cup fifth-round opponents Bradford City by claiming their pitch at Valley Parade is “one of the worst in the country”.
The Black Cats booked their place in the next round of the competition on Tuesday night as they came from a goal down at half time to defeat Championship side Fulham 3-1 at Craven Cottage in their fourth-round replay.
And Poyet wasted no time in looking ahead to the February 15 clash against the League One Bantams, who produced one of the FA Cup‘s greatest-ever shock results when coming from 2-0 down to defeat current Premier League leaders Chelsea 4-2 at Stamford Bridge.
The Uruguayan admitted it was the first time this season he enjoyed watching his team in action at Fulham as a Marcus Bettinelli own goal, Ricky Alvarez and Jordi Gomez’s late penalty sealed the win.
However, Poyet said he might have to adopt different tactics when they travel to Bradford on Sunday week due to the state of the West Yorkshire outfit’s playing surface.
“It’s going to be tough after what Bradford did because they did something incredible,” Poyet said. “And we are already talking about their pitch, which everyone knows is one of the worst in the country.
“So that is going to make the game different. It won’t be a passing game. Maybe we’ll have to play a little more direct. Maybe I’m going to ask the groundsman at our training ground to mash one of the pitches and train on it the week before.”
He added: “Bradford can play a bit, I’ve seen them, and I’m sure they’re not happy about the pitch as well. It’s also a problem for them.”